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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has attended the send forth reception in honour of Justice Mary Odili as she bowed out as the 51st chairman of the Body of Benchers (BoB) after one year (April 2023-March 2024) of meritorious service to the body.

The event, which held at the Halimatu Abdullahi Turaki Hall of the Body of Benchers Complex in Abuja on Thursday, witnessed her Vice, Chief Adegboyega Awomolo, SAN, taking over the mantle as the new Chairman of BoB.

This was in keeping with the tradition of BoB that is the legal body of practitioners of the highest distinction in the legal profession that, among other functions, is responsible for the formal call to the Bar of persons seeking to become legal practitioners as well as disciplining of erring lawyers.

Speaking at the event, Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, commended Justice Mary Odili for her invaluable contributions to the enrichment of the body of jurisprudence and the legal profession throughout her years of meritorious services to the State and country.

Governor Fubara also expressed satisfaction with her record of exemplary performance and sacrifices within her one year as Chairman of the Body of Benchers in Nigeria.

He said, “The Government and people of Rivers State are proud of your contributions to the advancement of jurisprudence, and indeed, the legal profession in Nigeria.

“I have no doubt that your one year tenure as Chairman of the Body of Benchers has ushered in reforms to ensure discipline, due process and respect for rule of law among lawyers.

“As a Government, we thank you for your immeasurable service both to our dear State and the nation”.

“As the Governor of Rivers State, I have learnt a lot from her wealth of experience, incredible knowledge and humility, and the learnings will manifest in the good governance we deliver to the people of our dear State”, he added.

In her remarks, Justice Mary Odili expressed deep appreciation to the Body of Benchers for the honour done her, and promised to always support them in whatever way possible to enable the Bench succeed.

Justice Odili had taken over the mantle of the BoB from the 50th Chairman, Wole Olanipekun, SAN.

Also speaking, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, thanked Justice Mary Odili for her remarkable service to the Bench, adding that her contributions to the body of jurisprudence in the country would ever remain a guiding light for the present and future generations of practitioners from the Bar and the Bench.


In his goodwill message, member representing Andoni-Opobo/Nkoro Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Awaji-Inombek Abiante, praised Justice Mary Odili’s high moral compass, integrity, intellect, and service, which he said, would remain a reference point to millions of Nigerians for many more years to come.

Hon. Abiante also described Justice Mary Odili as a trailblazer and role model, who has inspired countless young women to pursue careers in law.

He congratulated the distinguished legal luminary on her giant feats, and wished her a more beautiful and fulfiling life in her future endeavours.

It would be recalled that in her address on assuming office on March 31, 2023, as Chairman, Body of Benchers, Justice Mary Odili, had told the gathering that there was a need for the Bar and Bench to focus more on the objectives of the body, emphasizing that she would focus efforts at ensuring the entrenchment of discipline among lawyers.

During a valedictory court session at the Supreme Court on Thursday, May 12, 2022, in honour of Justice Mary Ukaego Odili, who was then retiring from service after clocking 70 years, she shared her views on the issue of state of origin and residency as it affects Nigerians, especially women.

Justice Odili had said, “The issue should be given immediate attention, lest we ignore the matter at the risk of a lost opportunity to set the ship of state on the right course,” she said.

“The follow-up on this matter of state of origin or residency and the import thereto have thrown up the fact that the women have seen themselves taking the short end of the stick on account of marriage outside the state of their birth.

“These are matters that need urgent attention in our journey of nationhood and building and sustaining thereof.”

Mary Odili had entered the revered history books of the country’s Judiciary as the third woman to rise to the apex court, and held sway in the discharge of her judicial functions.


She contributed richly to the body of jurisprudence for the stability of the nation and the legal profession

Among other distinguished Nigerians in attendance were husband to the celebrant and former governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili; and Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Olukayode Ariwoola.

Others included the Presidential Spokesman, Chief Ajuri Ngelale; Senator Ben Obi; Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Simeon Chibuzor Amadi; former transport minister, Chief Abiye Sekibo; Life Bencher, Eddy Mark; and Dr Abdulrahman Sambo.***

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